APhA2015: Advancing As One


Annual Meeting inspires pharmacists to work together to improve health care system for patients.


WASHINGTON, DC — The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual Meeting & Exposition, APhA2015, held March 27­­—30, drew nearly 6,000 pharmacists and student pharmacists from every pharmacy practice setting to San Diego. Attendees heard from pharmacy thought-leaders about the many changes and challenges facing the pharmacy profession.

This year’s theme, Advancing As One, speaks to how, by rallying together, pharmacists can earn the recognition they deserve and simultaneously change the nation’s view of their role in the health care system. As individuals and as a whole, pharmacists possess the strength to launch the collaborative health care team forward to improve health outcomes for patients. The expertise, insights and enthusiasm practitioners gained at APhA2015 will fuel their efforts and spread to other pharmacists across the country.

APhA2015 general sessions were headlined by engaging speakers:

  • Reid Blackwelder, MD, FAAFP and L. Brian Cross, PharmD, BCACP, CDE — Interprofessional Practice: Start at the Grassroots — The ongoing transformation of the health care system is ramping up the need for effective and efficient utilization of pharmacists' skills in integrated care teams. Blackwelder, a family physician from Kingsport, TN, and Board Chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians, along with L. Brian Cross, PharmD, BCPS, Associate Professor and Vice-Chair Pharmacy Practice, East Tennessee State University discussed how collaboration starts with meeting the needs of their community. Blackwelder and Cross work together at the East Tennessee State University Family Physicians clinic in Kingsport and have successfully navigated the transition to a fully interoperable care team.
  • Daniel Kraft — The Future of Medicine: Where Can Technology Take Us? — In a world where smartphone applications, telemedicine, remote monitoring and ingestible sensors allow health care providers and patients to track every heartbeat, sneeze or symptom in real time, it is clear that the future of health information technology (HIT) is upon us. But where will HIT take us? How can the health care system, including pharmacists, maximize the benefit of the new tools and technologies that are available? In this session, Dr. Kraft described a vision for a future in which HIT tools are utilized effectively to improve health and well-being by pharmacists and the health care system as a whole.

APhA 2015-2016 President, L.B. Brown, PharmD, PhD, FAPhA, delivered his presidential address, Expanding Opportunities thru Patient Care, at the Second General Session, stating, “‘Pharmacists Provide Care, let me tell you about it’ will be my focus over the next year, and I ask you to join me in spreading the word. My vision is that pharmacist-provided care in all practice settings will be as common and as expected as flu shots in the pharmacy are today. My vision for the pharmacy profession is for us to be bigger, better, stronger and more effective at improving the lives of patients than we ever have been before. Some would say, as Walt Kelly did, ‘We have met the enemy and he is us.’ But I say, ‘We today can be the heroes of pharmacy.’ We have the knowledge. We have a commitment to safety. We have the capability. We have the heart and the desire to revolutionize what it means to be a pharmacist. We have the ability to literally change the definition of pharmacist in the dictionary.

“APhA cannot revolutionize the profession alone. We can only capture your good work and lift it up to be appreciated by all. And if we don't revolutionize pharmacy, we will forever be left with a bitter taste in our mouths about what could have been. It is imperative that we take President Kennedy's admonition and ‘ask not what your profession can do for you, but what you can do for the profession.’ And what you can do starts with one simple little sentence: ‘Pharmacists provide care, let me tell you about it.’ Help APhA revolutionize the profession. All I ask is that once a day for five days, you say that one sentence to one person. An ancient proverb says you can eat an elephant if you eat it one bite at a time. Well our elephant is provider status, and we can achieve that if we do it one day at a time, one patient at a time, and spread the word one sentence at a time. ‘Pharmacists provide care, let me tell you about it!’

During the meeting, the APhA House of Delegates voted on three proposed policies:

  • Interoperability of Communications Among Health Care Providers to Improve Quality of Patient Care
  • Integrated Nationwide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
  • Role of Pharmacist in the Care of Patients Using Cannabis

Several new business items were also introduced for consideration by the House:

  • Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience
  • Pharmacist Participation in Executions
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Medication Adherence
  • Maternal Health
  • Antibiotic Stewardship

For outcomes of the deliberations, visit http://pharmacist.com/house-of-delegates.

APhA has started preparations for APhA2015, Expanding Opportunities through Patient Care, March 4—7, in Baltimore. For information on future meetings, contact APhA staff or visit www.aphameeting.org.

About the American Pharmacists Association

The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, is a 501 (c)(6) organization, representing more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. For more information, please visit www.pharmacist.com.

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